How peas make their way from field to freezer

How peas make their way from field to freezer

Apetit’s frozen peas are frozen within two hours of being shelled. This tight schedule is made possible by the pea fields being close to Apetit’s frozen food production facility in Säkylä. In addition, the entire process is carefully timed.

When planning the harvesting of peas, the sowing of different pea varieties is taken into account to ensure uninterrupted harvesting of ripe peas in the summer. The entire summer harvest must not ripen at exactly the same time, so sowing is planned in accordance with the production plant’s freezing capacity. Ripening of the peas and the start of harvesting and shelling is monitored closely and precisely down to the hour.


To plan and predict the start of the pea harvest, Apetit uses Finland’s only tenderometer, an instrument for measuring the hardness of peas. Pea samples are collected from all the plots, and the timing of harvesting is predicted with the help of tenderometer readings.

The pea harvesters used by Apetit are also unique in Finland. Manufactured by the UK-based company PMC, they weigh a whopping 25 tonnes each. Apetit owns three pea harvesters, with the newest one having been purchased in 2012. Apetit bought its first self-propelled pea harvester in 1979.


The speed at which the harvester moves during shelling is important, as the speed determines the quantity of pea mass and the speed of the threshing drum. The drum and the beaters inside it spin the stalks, opening the pods and moving the peas to the harvester’s hopper. The peas are then transferred to tractors and lorries for transportation to Säkylä for freezing.


Thanks to the detailed harvesting schedule and short distances, the peas go from field to freezer in two hours. This ensures the superior flavour and texture of Finnish frozen peas, and creates a taste of summer in the midst of winter.

Gentle blanching and quick freezing in an air blast freezer ensure that the peas have a long shelf life and high nutritional content. The facility produces 10 tonnes of frozen peas per hour. Taking the washing of the production line into account, the daily pea production capacity is 200 tonnes.


All our pea growers are committed to Apetit’s responsible growing practices, which are based on integrating several different perspectives on improving cultivation and vegetable quality as well as managing environmental impact.  Under Apetit’s responsible growing practices, contract growers use appropriate vegetable-specific and plot-specific cultivation methods to prevent the proliferation of pests and weeds. They also improve crop yields and vegetable quality using methods that are as environmentally friendly as possible, and that cause minimal disturbance to the cultivation ecosystem.

Apetit’s range of frozen pea products was expanded in summer 2017 after the first organic crops were harvested.

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The consumer demand for organic food is increasing rapidly.* However, there is a shortage of raw material supply: in spite of the growing market, half of Finnish farmers are not interested in moving into organic farming. This is revealed by the organic farming survey commissioned by Apetit. As a food company specialising in vegetables, Apetit believes in growth of the organic food sector and takes a strategic step by establishing a development programme for organic farming. With its programme, Apetit aims to develop organic farming methods in order to facilitate farmers’ changeover to organic farming and consequently to take organic farming to a whole new level. To develop organic farming, Apetit’s Räpi experimental farm in Köyliö begins to study and develop organic farming as part of Apetit’s proprietary Vastuuviljely (Responsible farming) method. Some of the fields of the experimental farm are turned into fields supporting organic farming. 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The goal of the programme is to increase the efficiency of organic farming and boost the crops it yields as well as to tackle various challenges related to moving over to organic farming. With this programme, we clear the way for organic vegetables to enter stores in the form of Apetit’s products. We hope that our commitment gives farmers some security", says Anu Ora, Vice President at Apetit. Ora talked about this topic at the organic food event Luomuelintarvikepäivät on 5 October 2017. Apetit introduces to organic farming a similar contract farming model as is used in ordinary farming. Farmers commit to meeting the high quality requirements of the Vastuuviljely (Responsible farming) method in organic farming, too, and in return, they have the security that their crops will be bought in the season. The first Finnish organic frozen products to stores As the first company to do so, Apetit brought Finnish organic frozen vegetables to the stores this autumn. The very first products featuring Finnish organic vegetables were Organic Spinach and Organic Peas. In November, two new favourites will be launched: Apetit Organic Potato & Soup Vegetables and Kotimainen Organic Potato and Onion Mix. “In some areas in Finland, the demand for organic food already exceeds the supply. We believe strongly in growth of the organic food sector in Finland as well as in its export prospects. For the export potential to be realised, the entire food industry and commerce would need to commit to the productisation and sales of organic products. Promoting organic food is recorded in the Government Programme and what is needed now is concrete action. Apetit wants to be a trailblazer in this respect,” Ora says. Product information Apetit Kotimainen Organic Spinach 150 g and Apetit Kotimainen Organic Peas 200 g. 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Räpi experimental farm - a pioneer in cultivation expertise in satakunta

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